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5 minutes with: John Swolfs, CEO, Inside ETFs

ETFs are evolving and so is Inside ETFs. How?

The coolest thing about ETFs is the wrapper itself. People have always focused on the low cost and transparency, but the fact is, the wrapper is the technology, and we’re seeing it put to use in many ways—the newest being the recently approved nontransparent ETFs. This is the first step toward active managers embracing ETFs.

The conference itself is evolving as we build out new ways for attendees to consume content, with our lunch & learns, exhibit hall stage and our expanded advisor accelerators. We understand advisors need more than just ETF information when they attend events, and we want to help them achieve those goals at Inside ETFs.


Give us a snapshot of the big themes being discussed.

The big topic populating the agenda in January are the macro outlook. With so much uncertainty in the global economy, knowing where to invest is getting more and more difficult, especially as we push further into a decade-long bull market.

We'll also be focusing more on practice management as the role of the advisor changes. Because we know they need new tools and insights to stay relevant, we’ll feature more topics and experts to help them stay ahead of the curve.

And of course, education as a whole is a major theme. So we tackle all the latest trends and happenings in the ETF universe, with a closer focus on the ETF Rule and the approval of nontransparent ETFs.

How will content be delivered differently?

For our 2020 event, we went back to the drawing board and started to rethink how we deliver content.

We began by introducing the exhibit hall stage, allowing us to share content in a fast-paced format where attendees can pop in and out of the sessions to hear great ideas.

We’ve also launched our lunch & learn series, which allows advisors to take a deep dive into topics of their choice with industry experts. And of course we still have our Big Ideas day on Wednesday, bringing to life the best ideas out there to help advisors see the future before it gets here.

Why is this the year attendees should come back? 

So much has happened in the past 12 months that it’s been hard for advisors and the industry to keep up. Inside ETFs brings all the experts together under one roof for 3 1/2 days to ensure everyone leaves with their questions answered.

What can a newcomer to the event expect?

With so much content and people around, it can be overwhelming at times. So my big tips would be: 

  • Engage with the networking app to help make connections before arriving in Florida - you can message fellow delegates ahead of time and set up a profile for yourself 
  • Get involved on social media by following @InsideETFs and #InsideETFs to get the latest event updates but also to start connecting with the ETF community you'll meet at the event
  • Use the Exhibit Hall! Spend time stopping by the booths to get questions answered from the solution providers we have on hand 

Most of all, have fun with it! You’ll leave there infinitely more educated on ETFs than when you arrived, not to mention be better prepared for whatever the markets or industry throw at you in 2020.